So How Do I Get Started?
And Where Does All My Stuff Go?
Here is Where We Will Share Good Books, Videos, Audio-Tapes, Website
and other Sources of Good Support and Strategies.
www.oprah.com has many interesting articles and you can get an update on what shows are coming up. One of her past shows was entitled, Six Ways to a Clutter-Free Couple. You can find an overview of this story by going to Oprah's page, clicking on Relationships, and then Couplehood-Marriage.
Some of the suggestions for working together [and this could be a roommate and not just a spouse] include:
- using "we" instead of "you" (always a less threatening form and implies teamwork)
- respecting the other person's needs and/or anxiety and taking time to listen
- visualize a shared goal [like having people over for dinner]
- be willing to compromise
- work on one area at a time [see Good Books for tips on how to break down big jobs] ignore the phone and other distractions.
- And apparently there is an article in the November 2002 issue of Oprah's "O Magazine," which your library might have.
This is a suggestion from a a member of a Yahoo! group I also belong to for people whose clutter is tied to hoarding. It's about self-talk when doing the often stressful task of decision-making, what to keep what to set free.
Subject: Tossers Talk Nasty
"For me, tossing stuff means talking nasty to it.
I suppose what some people would call a reality check. If something doesn't work, doesn't fit, costs too much to fix, or other logical reasons, it has to go. It's not working for me, so it must be against me. "Lazy bum, hit the road and quit leeching off me," I say.
Other times, things are OK, they still work, etc., but let that same thing get in my way one too many times (like those plant holders I got rid of -- I cannot tell you how many times they cracked me inthe head while I was in a perfectlygood mood, just looking out the window) and it's got to go. They don't make me happy enough to put up with the pain.
Crafts are the tough one for me. I know you'll understand this one. So many things you could do with scraps, an odd button, a piece of sparkly thread. Yea, this is where I really have to talk nasty to myself. I tell myself I cannot do it all. The things that are in the way of what I'm doing have to leave.
I do catch myself wanting to put a tiny three inch piece of fabric in a Goodwill bag. After all, if you had enough of those, you could make a quilt. This is where I have to tell myself, "No one wants your used up junk."
. . . Lastly, my favorite line is, "You gotta die so others can live!"
I do this when things get out of hand in my clutter spots. Craft patterns and ideas mostly. Sometimes I'll get a stack of them and it's just overwhelming to look at them all, much less think I'll ever finish half ofthem. That's when I do my gangster impression and just ruthlessly go through them. This one hurts at times.... to admit there are things I don't know how to do, will probably never have time or patience to learn. But some gotta die so the others can live.
After a session when I've done the gangster thing, I feel so refreshed. Like the slate is clean for me to start on a project without thinking of the rest looming there going, "Why not me? Pick me! Pick me!"
-- Shirley (from the Messiestalk Yahoo! group)
***From our group member Cheryl***
I've been getting the Get Organized Newsletter for some time now and I thought I would share it. If you are interested in receiving it or if you want to check out the site you can go to
Create Visual Storage With A Bookcase
10 Ways To Organize and Simplify Bill Paying
Organizing Your Business
10 Min Tips That Help You Get Organized--ECourse 4 Lessons-- This is Lesson 1
Really Letting Go!
Another interesting point of view that might provide some inspiration...
"I used to not be able to freely donate stuff either, especially good stuff. I don't really understand what magic happened to change that for me, but as far as I can try to explain it, I think it was finally facing that nothing was going to get better around here until I made myself LET GO of the mindset of getting some money back for those "acquiring" mistakes and other items no longer useful.
I am not saying it is easy to do.
There is grieving involved, but I have to keep reminding myself that I have to do this with a black-and-white simple rule, no gray areas, no room to make it complicated, like dreaming up an overwhelming amount of different places for the stuff to go because I would fail in moving it out of here if I didn't stick to it... It is all donated; no yard sales, no selling in the classified ads, and no consignment shops.
Everything is considered for donation regardless of how much I paid for it, if it's brand new, etc. Now, the only deviation from this rule is I am sending a few things to people in the mail, but this is do-able quickly and not something I'm going to do on a grand or on-going scale.
I know you will find itdifficult to be able to do this at first... I am not saying I couldn't use the money I could get from these things but the complicated process of trying to accomplish it was just keeping me a prisoner of this stuff."
-- Debby (from the Messies and Hoarding Yahoo! group)
Please share your finds and I will add them to the list.
A warning to clutter-bugs about books. You probably have about 200 already. I had an "Aha!" moment during a meeting of the Clutter Workshop, run by Beth Johnson, when she said it is a good idea to make sure you are not purchasing the "idea" of a book. Try to look it over thoroughly to see if you like the writing, the style, the way it's organized -- is it a book you will read and use or will it become just more clutter? -- before plunking down $18 (or more).
- For Packrats Only: How to clean up, clear out and dejunk your life forever!, by Don Aslett. Other books he has penned, based on half a lifetime of cleaning other people's houses are: No Time to Clean, Clutter's Last Stand, Lose 200 Lbs. This Weekend; Is There Life After Housework?, The Office Clutter Cure, and more.
*** As someone who is trying to reduce the amount of stuff coming IN to the house, I recommend that before you go out and buy any of these books, try to find them in your local library. You can request books that might be at other libraries through interlibrary loan. Usually you only have two weeks before you have to return them, so this is good incentive to sit down and read it before it has a chance to get lost! ***
- Organizing From the Inside Out, by Julie Morgenstern. The author is also a "recovering" clutter bug [and making lots of money now as an expert on this topic] and talks about organizing by function, and chipping away at stuff, but more importantly how to clarify your own reasons for wanting to be free of chaos, and using an ordered and goal-oriented way of thinking about the task at hand so that you don't become overwhelmed, or try to do things in a scattered way.
- Clutter Tips from A-Z, by Beth Johnson founder of the Clutter Workshop (see www.clutterworkshop.com). It is a small pamphlet (maybe $5 plus postage) with good tips from someone who has done amazing things in "hopeless" homes. Her website includes some "before and after" photo's that you might find inspiring. She holds workshops and support group meetings and other events throughout Connecticut, and is continually adding new ones. You can inquire about activities in your group by calling (860) 232-3838, or by email at email@example.com
[Tell her Brenda sent you!]
- Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, by Karen Kingston. I believe this is out of print and hard to find at the library. I found an audio version in another town, but interlibrary loan doesn't apply to audio or video tapes. Feng Shui (pronounced Fung Shway) is a philosophy and system for arranging our living and working spaces in ways that enhance our lives -- that's a really basic definition. But it is a very interesting concept.
New Life For Your Old Treasures
I really like the idea of giving a "new life" to something that is no longer (and maybe never really was) useful in my life.
I have two fishing poles that I picked out of the garbage because they were "perfectly good." I imagined learning to fish and taking one of my nephews along, as a way of "bonding." Well, it never happened. However, I have a friend who fishes and has a 7-year-old son, and they would likely get a lot of good use out of these poles.
The list of places that need all kinds of things is practically endless. Most nonprofits have a "wish list" you can inquire about (the local community center for kids, for example, may need art supplies.)
In my area there is a weekly newspaper that includes a section called Neighbor to Neighbor. In one section, people ask for odd things like, Does anyone have typewriter ribbons for a Model XYZ Royal Typewriter, circa 1960? And in the other section, people either offer up something that was mentioned in a previous issue, or give tips on where to find the stuff.
Now OUR goal is to let go, not acquire, so you might place a FREE ad in a similar paper, something like: FREE to a good home, one upright piano, needs new baseboard and some new strings. If you can get it out the front door, it's yours!
Please Share Your Suggestions For Other Resources